Aim: The aims of this study were to determine whether the serum levels of precursor brain-derived neurotrophic factor (proBDNF), mature BDNF (mBDNF), and matrix metalloproteinase-9 (MMP-9) are altered in patients with eating disorders (ED), including anorexia nervosa (AN) and bulimia nervosa (BN), and to explore whether those levels are associated with decision-making abilities. Methods: Nineteen women with AN, 28 women with BN, and 22 age-matched healthy control women (HC) were enrolled in the current study. All participants had their decision-making abilities assessed using the Iowa Gambling Task (IGT). Their eating-related pathophysiology and depressive/anxiety symptoms were also evaluated. Results: The MMP-9 level in AN was significantly lower than that in either BN or HC, but the serum levels of proBDNF and mBDNF did not differ among the three groups. Investigation of the serum levels of proBDNF and MMP-9 in patients with ED and controls revealed a significant correlation between them. In the BN, there were positive correlations between mBDNF level and IGT performance and also between MMP-9 level and IGT performance, but these correlations did not occur in AN. The MMP-9 level was positively associated with the Symptom Scale, one of the subscales of the Bulimic Investigatory Test, Edinburgh, only in AN. Conclusion: These results suggest that the serum level of MMP-9 plays a role in the pathophysiology of AN, and both the serum levels of mBDNF and MMP-9 may be associated with decision-making abilities in patients with BN.
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